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Woolies blocks Wesfarmers’ plans for API with $872 million bid

Woolworths Group has put forward its own non-binding bid to acquire Australian Pharmaceutical Industries at a cash price of $1.75 per security – a 20c per share premium on Wesfarmers’ $1.55 per security offer.

According to Woolworths, API’s board has determined their proposal is likely to be superior to Wesfarmers’, and it is working to “quickly” finalise its due diligence enquiries.

“There is a compelling strategic rationale to support Woolworths Group’s acquisition of API,” said Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci.

“Health and wellbeing is a large, fast-growing category and API would be a fantastic addition to our food and everyday needs ecosystem.

“We are strongly committed to supporting the community pharmacy model including pharmacy ownership and location rules to ensure pharmacies are well represented in all communities, especially in regional and remote parts of Australia.”

Woolworth’s play is the latest in a string of acquisition offers for API, from a proposed merger with Sigma in 2018, to an offer of acquisition from Wesfarmers in 2021, which was rivalled by Sigma, and now Woolworths.

According to Wesfarmers, its aim for the buy-up is to enable the conglomerate to enter the “growing health, wellbeing and beauty sector”, according to manging director Rob Scott.

“The combination of Wesfarmers and API is a compelling opportunity to capitalise on API’s strengths and positioning in these markets while drawing upon Wesfarmers’ capabilities in retail and distribution, our strong balance sheet and our willingness to invest in our business for growth over the long term,” said Scott.

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